Thursday, April 18, 2024

Chelan County Commissioners allocate over $319K in Lodging Tax dollars to boost local tourism initiatives

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WENATCHEE — Chelan County Commissioners greenlit the allocation of nearly $320,000 in lodging tax dollars toward various tourism-related entities, benefitting a gamut of local organizations.

These funds, generated by local lodging establishments, are distributed with precision. Half of the yearly revenue is designated for six local chambers, Ohme Gardens, the Cascade Loop, and TREAD. Additionally, a part is reserved for the county’s Visit Chelan County initiative.

The balance is annually earmarked for grants aiding tourism-related bodies, like festivals and museums. The Lodging Tax Advisory Committee (LTAC) thoroughly reviews applications, recommending disbursement to the Board of County Commissioners.

“LTAC budgeted $280,000 for this round of 2024 grant applications,” said Commissioner Tiffany Gering, who chairs the nine-member advisory committee. “The committee recommended allocating nearly $40,000 more because of the quality of applications that came in. These dollars are an investment in our communities and the organizations that play a vital role in our tourism-dependent economy.”

In 2024, a total of 23 local groups and nonprofits will benefit from the $319,681 granted. This financial boost will support diverse endeavors, from marketing and outreach efforts to enhancing new and established festivals, museum exhibits, and event arrangements.

Beneficiaries include:

  • Cashmere Museum & Pioneer Village: Awarded $12,200
  • Cascade Community Markets: Secured $20,000 for the Leavenworth and Cashmere Community Farmers Markets
  • Chelan Boys Basketball Boosters: $1,580 for the East-West Classic Tournament
  • Icicle Creek Center for the Arts: $20,000 for Music in the Meadow Summer Concerts
  • Lake Chelan Arts Council: $5,500
  • Lake Chelan Bach Fest: $12,500
  • Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce: $10,000 for the Lake Chelan Wine and Jazz Festival
  • Lake Chelan Wine Alliance: $35,000 for the Experience Wine in Washington’s Paradise event
  • Leavenworth Summer Theater: $30,000 for the 30th anniversary season
  • Leavenworth Village Voices: $7,150 for 2024 Christmas choral performances
  • Manson Chamber of Commerce: $5,000 for a pickleball tournament
  • Northwest Accordion Society: $3,000 for the Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration
  • Numerica Performing Arts Center: $17,400 for marketing efforts for the 2023-2024 season
  • Stehekin Heritage: $3,500 for the Stehekin Guidebook
  • TREAD: $20,000 for the 2024 Washington State Trails Conference in Wenatchee
  • Two Rivers Medieval Faire: $4,351
  • Upper Valley Historical Society: $12,000 for the Greater Leavenworth Museum
  • Wenatchee River Bluegrass Festival: $15,000
  • Wenatchee River Institute: $8,000 for the Leavenworth Spring Bird Fest
  • Washington State Autumn Leaf Festival Association: $15,000
  • Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce: $20,000 for the Rails and Ales event in Wenatchee
  • Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center: $25,000
  • Wenatchee Valley Velo Club: $17,500 for the annual Tour de Bloom cycling event

The awarded entities intend to utilize these funds to further their initiatives, solidifying their roles in fostering community engagement and bolstering tourism prospects.

The LTAC has a biannual call for grant applications, opening annually on Sept. 1 (for events and marketing grants) and Feb. 1 (for capital grants), with respective deadlines on Oct. 15 and March 15.

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